Monday, December 9, 2013

Tarja Scholarship

I won the Tarja Scholarship's Best Essay recognition! :D Yaaay!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Yeah, I love being a Finn.

In honor of me receiving my first scholarship, and in honor of the Finnish Independence Day approaching, I'm posting some snippets from my recent Tarja Scholarship application...

According to my experience, the Finnish culture is all about…

"...enjoying what’s valuable, staying true to who you are as an individual, and spending resources wisely."

In your mind, what are the personal characteristics and attributes that differentiate the Finns from typical Americans?

"Finns are extremely honest and hardworking, they are humbly confident rather than prideful, and Finns are also more reserved."

Get ready for the cheese... It is not by accident that I sometimes find myself humming the tune to the Finnish National Anthem. I am incredibly proud of my Finnish heritage. It is a culture of reason where things just simply make sense, and feminists are not hard to find. Finns are intelligent, well-rounded, hard-working, honest, and humble people, as I believe myself to be. And of course, Finland is absolutely gorgeous. So, of course I am proud of my heritage, and it is the first thing that I tell people when I meet them. The Finnish culture and heritage can be boiled down to two things: enjoying what’s valuable and staying true to who we are as individuals. 

In my experiences with Finland, the philosophy there is to enjoy what is truly valuable in life. Our world today can often be molded around “what works for me” and “what makes me happy.” When the society is shaped around that, people loose sight of the things that hold true value and begin to seek out pleasure in other things, such as the size of your house, the size of your engagement ring, the type of car you drive, your hair, etc. The Finnish heritage has taught me what is truly important: the simple things in life, like family, education, health, and, along with that, sleep! For example, in Finland, maternity leaves are longer, students sleep more, education is free, and health is a vital part people’s lifestyles. Being a Finn, I am able to keep hold of what is true and valuable so that I do not waste this life of mine, and that – is significant. 

The Finns stay true to who they are. Although Finns are more reserved than most Americans, they are independent, honest, hardworking, and humbly confident. To me, this means not being afraid to put myself out there. For example, if I want to be a parenting consultant/specialist in America, spreading the Finnish wisdoms of raising children, I can do that. If I am the type of person who does not want to hug someone and proceed to ask them, “how are you?” without meaning it every time that I see them, that is okay. If I am a feminist, that is more than okay! I am not afraid to stay true to who I am, and that is just the sincere Finnish heritage in me.

The Finnish culture and heritage is about enjoying what is valuable and staying true to one’s self, and I am proud of that. Being Finnish has helped me to know the things in life that hold true value. It is the reason why I often turn off the TV, set aside my cell phone, and spend quality time hanging out and playing with my two-year-old sister. I am not afraid to be my unique self. So, I form my own opinions and pursue what I think is right. Certainly, I would be a very different person without my Finnish heritage.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cooking Night!

The other weekend, Gavin and I decided to put up a stay-at-home dinner date night. We decided on what to cook, ran by the grocery store, and got to work. Although it took 2.5 hours to finally sit down and eat it all, it was well worth it, and cooking with Gavin is the bomb. (:

My mom gave us the easy, cheap idea of doing simple crepe wraps / burritos.

Oreo watched us cook, anxiously waiting for something to drop from the stove.

We also wanted an appetizer, so we stuffed and baked 2 tomatoes with the rice-tomato-beef-cheese mixture. Then, we topped the stuffing with basil and garlic salt. Yummm.

And of course, you've got to set the table for the dinner night! One of my favorite parts because I get to whip out my iittala plates... :D

And finally, we had dessert! I looked up a "quick" recipe for the Finnish pulla (buns / cinnamon rolls), and I guess I should have read the instructions first because the dough was runny. So, instead of having pulla rolls, we had pulla cake! Haha. There you go. Pikapullat. Man, was it delicious though!